illustration by @katyauspenskaya

How Wellness Instructors Can Teach Less, Give More, and Make a Decent Living

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Experienced teachers know their strengths and weaknesses and know how to do their jobs well. This works perfectly when wellness instructors work at studios and gyms, but when they decide to fly solo, things get a bit more complicated. First, it takes energy and time to explore how to manage the backend of things. It’s easy to get lost in software programs, social media algorithms, and even easier to focus on the things that won’t make a new business venture sustainable.

What most wellness instructors look for is three-fold: the capacity to serve their clients and students to generate the life-changing transformation they’re after, to make a decent living, and to have time for themselves. Yet when you’re spending day and night tending to a business that’s barely bringing any income, it quickly becomes a burden more than a source of fulfillment and financial safety.

That’s the situation Mark Osmundsen, a Brooklyn-based performer, teacher, certified fitness pro, and choreographer, found himself in before stumbling upon Six Steps to Six Figures with Talent Hack. “After teaching virtually for almost a year,” he shares, “I felt burnt out from the constant grind of trying to get clients to sign up for class. I knew that my virtual studio wasn’t working.”

He was charging 15$ for a drop-in class then, teaching 3-5 classes a week, while navigating the many moving parts of his fitness business. When we asked if he could make a living before doing the program, he laughed.

When burnout is looming, something’s gotta give

Mark isn’t even remotely the only one in this situation. Teaching something you are truly passionate about—be it pilates, dance, or yoga—takes a lot out of any human being, no matter your level of expertise and skill set. Becoming a business owner and having to come up with a strategy to grow a community of clients who attend classes consistently requires a whole other skillset.

Kirstie Beck, a pilates teacher and former professional dancer, was struggling too before jumping headfirst into Six Steps to Six Figures. “Building my business, I was hitting a wall with growth and suffering finding my purpose within it. I was so burnt out from over teaching and being underpaid.”

Kirstie focuses on providing classes for athletes and artists to rehabilitate injuries & reduce inflammation / Photo provided by Kirstie Beck Kristie Beck

She knew she needed to make changes. She was determined to learn, and she was ready to commit. “I was looking for clear direction on what’s next for me for someone in my situation, starting my business during the pandemic, but wanting it to go further and build longevity. I was looking for an outline to assist in my engagement with my audience. I was also looking for my numbers to grow significantly since I was fully committed to making this business work.”

The hardest thing about burnout as an instructor is that it can take a massive toll on your confidence. Even if you know your craft, it can get challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel and trust that you’ll make it work. Meghamn Guttormsen, a personal trainer, knew she had to ask for help to manage her business even though she is skilled at what she does. “I have never doubted who I was as a trainer. I know my strengths (and I know my weaknesses!). Before Six to Six, I was struggling with putting it all down on paper and having a clear game plan on how I was going to execute my business!”

Meghamn teaches one in-person class per week at the beach, for which members of her online classes automatically have a saved spot. / Photo provided by Meghamn Guttormsen

Learning to settle on a price that works for you

The team at Talent Hack, and through Six Steps to Six Figures, helps you hone in on your skills to find a pre-commit formula that will work best for you. You learn how to use your unique expertise and aspirations to create an experience that will best meet your students’ needs: where they can best learn from you as a teacher, while allowing you to find financial independence and fulfillment in your work.

To illustrate how that is different for each person, we asked four instructors who took the program to tell us about their pricing choices and the impact it’s had on their business.

  • Mark created the Motivated to Move program, where $99 gives students access to all classes for the whole month. He teaches two classes a week compared to 3-5 before creating a pre-commit formula, and students have access to classes on-demand as well. The added bonus is that Mark can create consistent programming: “[classes] fit together so that we’re able to adequately focus on each muscle group, cardio, etc. so that clients are set up for more success in their health goals and not just dropping into a workout here or there.”
  • Kirstie has opted for two pre-commit options. Students get her PWRHOUSE monthly program for $149, and she can offer pre-recorded programs that others can take and still get a taste of what she offers, but at a lower price point. “Mentally and emotionally, I can say that I now have an outline I feel I can stick to because it feels like me and feels sustainable!”
  • Meghamn used to charge $25 for a drop-in class, and now charges $12 and $120 for a monthly package. She teaches three live virtual classes a week and one in-person class at the beach. Students who opt for the monthly rate have access to all live classes, on-demand classes, and a spot in the outdoor class in addition to access to her as a coach. “Virtual pricing was tough for me to wrap my head around in the beginning,” she shares. “It took a few weeks of teaching before I realized I was given an opportunity to build a community, a safe place, that I couldn’t have before. And if it meant dropping my prices a few dollars to show people they didn’t have to leave their house to get that effective workout and ‘in class feeling’ they had walking into their old studio, then I was more than happy to do that.”
  • Megan Bowen created The Ensemble, where members get access to 4-5 live classes every week, on-demand classes, a broadway master workshop, a private Groupme chat, and even discounts on Pop-up classes and merchandise for 125$ per month. Students can also choose packages to get access to only one of two styles of classes, or just opt for access to the on-demand classes. Megan and her team went from teaching 7-10 classes a week to five, and also completely took away class passes to simplify her business.

Mark quadrupled his income, while Kirstie can decide to not work full-time on her business because she doesn’t have to. Meghamn was never a full-time instructor, but after taking Six to Six, she has brought in more income than she thought she would have in a full year teaching virtual classes. Meghan now runs a 6-figure business.

Opportunities beyond money

While being able to make a decent income as a wellness instructor is the first box new business owners want to check, it’s far from the only one.

The teachers we interviewed were able to get so much more out of the Six to Six Figures program than expected. All of them offer much more value to their students because they have a strategy in place that allows them to find focus. Instead of teaching what feels like a million classes every week, most of them are teaching way less than they used to and have become better teachers. Students get more time for one-on-one attention (like with Meghamn and personal coaching), better plans to help them meet their health goals (like with Mark and Kirstie who offer consistent programming), and more fulfilling classes (like with Megan, who helps Broadway lovers reconnect with the joy of dance).

Morale can really plummet when you aren’t able to make a living doing something you love and know people need. So when money flows in and you don’t have to worry about paying rent or providing for your kids, as an instructor you get to experience a whole new level of confidence. Meghamn shared she feels confident in herself as a trainer, coach—and now—as a business owner.

Mark also feels stronger as a business owner and entrepreneur. Six to Six has helped him understand the moving parts of his business and know where and how to leverage his time and energy.

As for Megan, she was able to stop working 18-hour days on the business and instead is able to continue training and performing as a professional dancer. Kirstie has found fulfillment, peace of mind, and trust that her business efforts can and will pay off to create a durable business that will keep evolving with her and her students.

Talent Hack’s signature course, Six Steps to Six Figures, returns this August. Learn more and join here.

Talent Hack exists to radically redefine how the world consumes wellness by empowering the next generation of wellness practitioners. Providing access to jobs, gigs, partnerships, education, and community, Talent Hack serves as your business partner and coach, administrative assistant, and community all in one. To learn more about how they can help you with your business needs, visit them at www.thetalenthack.com.

Written by Ely Bakouche

Edited by Jordan Reed

Illustration by Katya Uspenskaya

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